Bob Whitehead relives old memories on Rockhampton’s steamroller at Rockhampton Heritage Village.
Bob Whitehead relives old memories on Rockhampton’s steamroller at Rockhampton Heritage Village. Amy Haydock

Steamroller is ready to roll

WHEN Bob Whitehead was five years old he would watch Rockhampton’s steamroller roll up Kent St.

Little did he know that 67 years later he would play a key role in restoring the very steamroller that he’d watched as a child from the footpath outside his home.

“I can still remember, I would get up every morning and watch it lay the bitumen on Kent St when my father was away during the war,” the 72-year-old said this week.

After five years of restoration the 1940s steamroller is ready to roll into action again.

From Sunday it will be on show at the Rockhampton Heritage Village markets, where it will let visitors take a trip down memory lane.

Bob and six other volunteers brought the roller back to life.

“I would come in once a week for a whole day and work on it, but it wasn’t just me, it’s a credit to all of us who fixed it,” Bob said.

The machine has repaired parts and a fresh coat of paint, but Bob said it wasn’t an easy thing to fix.

“There are specific tools you need in order to fix it, and they are very hard to find now, there are not many steamrollers like this around anymore.”

But for the former steam engine fitter, it brings back many memories of his childhood.

“I can still remember the smell of the steam in the mornings because they take an hour-and-a-half to warm up, which is why I wanted to be a part of its restoration, I didn’t want to see it lost to history because they do grow on you.”



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